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Strange Christian stuff

A friend sent a link to a site which compiled photos of weird Christian merchandise. And it is weird stuff. This is what I wrote to him in reflection...

I looked at this and of course shook my head in dismay. Some of it may actually have been produced by enemies of the faith, I'm thinking. However, I've had a kind of new thought about Christian cultural oddities and a sort of paradigm shift about them.

I always felt ashamed of preachers with big hair and loud voices, along with strange Christian commodities, like the praying hands statue that glows in the dark, that sort of thing. When I was in Ghana I laughed to see how many of the businesses, owned by Christians, would use biblical terminology in their store names. One example was a barber shop called "King of Kings Haircuts", which caused no end of amusement to me.

Then today after looking at the link you sent I began to wonder if I have this right at all. Many of the things we feel to be culturally superior will one day be laughed at. Our grandchildren or great-grandchildren will probably be ashamed of how we dressed, talked, acted, and the things we took interest in. We will be seen as quaint (at the least) or more likely, hopelessly out of it, weird, ignorant, and provincial. They will think -- from their cultural vantage point -- we didn't have a clue. And this will then be true of them, that they feel (as we often do) that our cultural moment is somehow superior. And so the same will happen to them.

So if I see a preacher with funny hair or a loud voice and this offends my cultural senses, I wondering now, how weighty in the long run are my cultural sensibilities? If the guy in Ghana zealously operates his King of Kings barber shop for the glory of God, is it not superior, say, to a new, hip Starbucks run by someone in rebellion to God?

This is, of course, not to say we should aim at being culturally abrasive. What I'm thinking is that when unbelievers make fun of the cultural oddities of believers, I've tended to feel ashamed of my brethren. Now I'm seeing their mockery as having no real weight at all, other than to reveal their cultural snobbery.


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